Online content is the champion of accessibility. You can get it on the go, at home and abroad 24 hours a day. It is also, as Gary Mintchell of Automation World points out, search-led. People are in control of what they read which is an attractive prospect and one of the reasons it has become so popular.
Print publishing tells a different story. In 2011 all major national newspapers saw a reduction in print circulations, as this table clearly shows. A good example is The Guardian which saw a 10% decrease in readership. The Guardian still has a respectable circulation of roughly 256,000 print copies but its online visitor numbers completely blow this out of the water. On average, The Guardian website has a massive 39 million unique browsers a month, five times as many people per day than are picking up a copy of a newspaper.
Online reading is on the up seemingly at the expense of print. The thing is, we overtook printing technology many moons ago. People are forever heralding the death of print and yet; it’s still around. There must be something people see in it. Whether it’s the straight-off-the-press smell, the ink on your fingers or the weight of potential reading, print still appeals.
Most people seem to use both forms of media; searching online for a particular news story or the headlines but picking up a newspaper or magazine for high quality, reasoned articles and analysis. If one thing is true, multi-channel information is more user-friendly and consumer driven. Readers have the ability to access information in the form that they want. This means more people are likely to read. Indeed, publications are actually reporting increases in their overall numbers of readers. The Financial Times is one of them. They claim that new channels of media have caused a 9% year on year increase in their total readership.
This year will see further developments in the way we consume information. Publishers will aim to mature their social media strategy and employ fresh approaches in interacting with their readers. In the trade media arena, publications are finding their own methods of engaging with social media and investing in new ways of publishing, so watch out for some new trade media apps in 2012!